Master in Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behaviour University of Helsinki
Why Do We Eat the Way We do?
What happens to food in our body? How does nutrition maintain our health? How do we study the way people use food? How does culture influence our food choices? How is food discussed in the media? How can we change food-related behaviour?
The Master’s Programme in Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behaviour (HNFB) focuses on human nutrition, food-related behaviour and food consumption from the perspectives of public health nutrition, nutrition physiology and the social sciences.
The Master’s Programme in Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behaviour (HNFB) focuses on human nutrition and food-related behaviour and consumption from the perspectives of public health nutrition, nutritional physiology and the social sciences.
The programme is built around human nutrition, food-related behaviour and consumership, as well as related research methods. Themes based on Sustainable Development Goals - such as good health and wellbeing, zero hunger, equality, ecological and cultural sustainability– are embedded throughout the programme.
Structure, content and study tracks
With a scope of 120 credits (ECTS), the Master’s Programme in Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behaviour can be completed in two academic years. The programme includes two study lines – human nutrition and food-related behaviour – one of which you choose during the application process. The degree comprises:
- 75 credits of advanced studies, including the Master’s thesis (30 credits)
- 45 credits of other studies, which can include studies from your own degree programme or other degree programmes, a practical training period or international studies
- Career orientation and career planning
- A personal study plan
The programme focuses on:
- The role of nutrition and other lifestyle factors in promoting health and preventing illness
- The mechanisms through which food impacts our body at the molecular biology level
- Food choices and consumption behaviour, and means of influencing them through policies, interventions and communication
- Food services and their management
- Food culture and social movements
- Theories and research methods in the fields of nutrition and food-related behaviour
The multidisciplinary nature of the Master’s Programme provides numerous options for other studies. You can also choose studies at other Finnish or international universities.
Courses and teaching
The courses in the Master's Programme in Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behaviour incorporate different methods of study, such as:
- Contact teaching, lectures
- Group work
- Oral presentations
- Written reports (individual, pair, group)
- Independent study
- Laboratory work and other assignments and related reports
- Learning journals, oral group examinations, written examinations, take-home essays
The diversity of learning methods enhances your development and application of critical thought, argumentation and problem-solving skills.
For the Master's Thesis (30 ECTS) you study and analyse a significant topic related to this Master’s programme. You can write the thesis in connection with a larger research project, in collaboration with companies and public institutions, or independently. It takes about 6 months of full-time work to complete the thesis.
During the semester when you start to plan you Master’s thesis, you also start the Master’s thesis seminar (5 ECTS). This is an obligatory seminar for all students. In this seminar, you will get guidance from the teachers, and also peer support and comments from other students who are at the same stage in the HNFB programme. We aim at true multidisciplinarity and therefore all students in this seminar are in one group, regardless of the topic of their thesis.
The advanced literature examination (5 ECTS) takes place in the end of the programme. The examination is separate for the two study tracks. The examination may include reading scientific journals, mainly review articles, and/or very advanced text books. The idea of the examination is to bring you back to all relevant issues of this Master’s programme and it will also make you realize how much you have learned.
Students and student life
Student life and especially the student organisation culture is exceptionally rich and diverse in Finland. Also at the University of Helsinki, the student community is very active. More than 250 student organisations operate within the Student Union of the University of Helsinki (HYY), ranging from faculty and subject organisations to political and societal organisations, and from choirs and orchestras to sports and game clubs. Their activities include anniversary celebrations, academic dinner parties, cultural events, get-togethers and excursions.
As a student and member of the Student Union (HYY), you are entitled to many benefits and services. For example, affordable student housing, basic healthcare services, sports facilities and student-priced meals. You also get numerous discounts, for example on public transport fees across the country.
Why Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behaviour?
The goal of the Master’s programme is to enable you to:
- Understand the significance of nutrition to human physiology and health
- Learn to analyse the physiological, psychological, social and cultural aspects that are linked to food choices of individuals and communities
- Recognise the diversity of food and nutritional issues and ways to influence them
Upon graduation, you are qualified to work in expert, teaching, research and managerial positions in the public sector, NGOs and companies, and as an independent entrepreneur. The education provides you with profound field-specific competence and skills in knowledge work, as well as a solid professional identity.
The Master’s Programme in Human Nutrition and Food-Related Behaviour qualifies you for work in expert, teaching, research and managerial posts in the public sector, NGOs and companies, and as an independent entrepreneur. The education provides you with profound field-specific competence and skills in knowledge work, as well as a solid professional identity.